WU Women Finish Fifth, Men are Seventh, at NWC Championships

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- Willamette University placed at least one swimmer in the finals or consolation finals of all five individual events on Sunday, Feb. 9, including a pair of eighth place finishes, as the Bearcats held off Linfield College and Pacific Lutheran University to take fifth place in the final women's team standings at the Northwest Conference Swimming Championships at the King County Aquatic Center. The Willamette men's team finished in seventh place.

The top finishers for Willamette on Sunday were Jenna Larrow (So., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) and Brittany Thiemens (Sr., Bellevue, WA/Bellevue HS). Larrow placed eighth in the women's 1,650-yard freestyle in a time of 19:06.44. Thiemens recorded an eighth place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 57.80 seconds. Thiemens reached the finals by taking 1.85 seconds off her previous season best to register a time of 56.71 in a preliminary heat earlier in the day.

Natalie Turner of Whitworth University won the 1,650-freestyle in 17:28.98. The 100-yard freestyle was won by Brittany Gresset of Whitworth with a time of 54.10 seconds.

Bridget Sutherland (Sr., Everett, WA/Everett HS) earned ninth place for the Bearcats in the women's 200-yard butterfly. She completed the consolation finals in 2:22.04.

Willamette held a 13-point lead over Linfield and a 40-point advantage over PLU heading into the third and final day of the championships. Willamette's ability to score points in every event on Sunday -- the Bearcats also placed sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay -- allowed WU to keep Linfield at bay, while holding off a late challenge from the Lutes.

The WU women's team also received an 11th place finish from Gwen Schulze (So., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College) in the 200-yard backstroke. Schulze swam the consolation race in 2:16.30, as she took nearly a minute off her preliminary time.

Hanna Connett (Fr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) was 13th in the 200-yard breaststroke, as she recorded a time of 2:42.18 for the Bearcats. Joining Thiemens in the 100-yard freestyle was Whitney Pryce (So., Glastonbury, CT/Glastonbury HS), who placed 15th overall with a time of 58.62.

WU's 400-yard relay team included Thiemens, Chelsea Hollingsworth (Sr., Portland, OR/Woodrow Wilson HS), Pryce and Connett. Their sixth place finish was clocked at 3:50.67, about four seconds in front of PLU and less than three seconds behind Linfield.

Whitworth won the women's team title with a score of 793, while the University of Puget Sound took second at 692. The Pirates ended the Loggers' string of 11 consecutive NWC titles. Whitman College placed third with 411 points and was followed by Lewis & Clark College in fourth at 392. Willamette was fifth with 258 points, Linfield placed sixth at 249, Pacific Lutheran was seventh at 247 and Pacific University took eighth with 130 points.

John Schmidtbauer placed 10th in the 100-yard freestyle.
The best finish for the Bearcat men's team on Sunday was achieved by John Schmidtbauer (Fr., Whittier, CA/Whittier HS). He placed 10th overall in the 100-yard freestyle after recording a time of 50.24 seconds as the runner-up in the consolation finals. Matt Tanigawa (So., Kailua, HI/Hawaii Baptist Academy) followed closely behind Schmidtbauer in the consolation finals and took 12th place overall in 50.53 seconds.

Pete Kahn (Sr., Billings, MT/Billings HS) of Willamette placed 14th in the 200-yard backstroke. His time in the consolation finals was 2:12.19. Greg Henselman (Sr., Corvallis, OR/Kamiak HS) finished 16th in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:24.31.

Willamette's men were sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay, after completing the four legs of the race in 3:25.38.
Swimming on the relay unit for the Bearcats were Tanigawa, Kevin Tangeman (So., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS), Kahn and Schmidtbauer.

In the men's team standings, Whitworth claimed first place for the sixth year in a row with 703.5 points. Puget Sound was second with 601 points, while Linfield finished third at 489. Whitman took fourth with 443.5 points, with Pacific Lutheran in fifth at 402, Lewis & Clark in sixth at 206, Willamette in seventh at 159 and Pacific in eighth at 147.

Jenna Larrow placed eighth in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the NWC Championships.

Jenna Larrow placed eighth in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the NWC Championships.